The story doesn’t end there.  Now, let’s look at the impact of DNA on the next generation - - my children.

Since I’ve become a father, I’ve observed several fascinating examples of how my DNA has apparently passed down interests and talents to my own children.  However, those interests and talents weren’t mine, they were recorded in my DNA by generations before me!  And these did not appear until just recently as my twins, Jeana and Jason, are about to turn the ripe age of 27 later this month (some of you may remember when they were just babies - - how time does fly!).

After high school, my daughter, Jeana, started working at a women’s dress store and found out she had a great aptitude (and love) for “performing” on the store floor and persuading customers to make purchases.  The performing talent she may have gotten from my father, but the salesmanship definitely came from his father!  “Coincidentally”, my grandfather had opened his own successful ladies’ dress shop in a small New Jersey town, where he was famous for his sales skills (almost every lady in town eventually purchased from him the same polka-dotted dress!). 

However, Jeana wasn’t just mastered in women’s dresses and working in the tight confines of a store.  So she went on to attend cosmetology school and then worked for a while as a hairdresser.  But she found she didn’t like being stuck, standing behind a chair all day either, talking to the back of peoples’ heads!  She wanted to get out and about, speak to people face-to-face and pursue sales again.  So she became a representative of a major hair shears manufacturer and now travels from sale to salon, selling them to stylists (and has risen to be one of the top salespeople for her company in the entire U.S.!).  Once again, this reminds me of my grandfather, who decided his dress shop was too restricting and wound up in real estate development, where he built many family homes, traveling from one location to another, and sold them all himself!

I should add here that, not to be outdone by his sister, my son Jason recently embarked on a sales career too, in real estate!  (My grandfather, who passed on many years ago, must really be rejoicing somewhere now!) Who would think all of this stuff could be in the DNA?

Which leads me to the conclusion that, of course, will circle back to your estate plan - - but it isn’t about the legal documents we, as your attorneys, create.  Have you ever thought about passing down the history of your family and all the great stories about their personalities, interests and talents that may be buried deep somewhere in the DNA?  Take the time to write some of your family history down.  Or, share it in a family meeting.  Better yet, how about having someone video tape you telling these stories and displaying photos of you and your ancestors?  (We have a great videographer who can help you.  Contact Lance Keller at Digital Legacy at 310-798-7172 or visit his website at for more information.)

Whether you share your family’s story directly or by video, it will be fun and exciting for both you and your family to discover…what’s in your DNA! 

Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.